Hugo Leal

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This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Ribeiro and the second or paternal family name is Leal.
Hugo Leal
Personal information
Full name Hugo Miguel Ribeiro Leal
Date of birth (1980-05-21) 21 May 1980 (age 36)
Place of birth Cascais, Portugal
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1989–1991 Alcabideche
1991–1992 Estoril
1992–1997 Benfica
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–1999 Benfica 33 (4)
1997–1998 Alverca (loan) 20 (3)
1999–2001 Atlético Madrid 59 (5)
2001–2004 Paris Saint-Germain 53 (1)
2004–2005 Porto 7 (0)
2005 Académica (loan) 12 (0)
2005–2007 Braga 17 (0)
2007–2008 Belenenses 8 (0)
2008–2009 Trofense 21 (3)
2009–2010 Salamanca 36 (1)
2010–2012 Vitória Setúbal 45 (2)
2012–2013 Estoril 5 (0)
Total 316 (19)
National team
1998–2000 Portugal U21 20 (4)
1999 Portugal 1 (0)
Teams managed
2015 Estoril
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Hugo Miguel Ribeiro Leal (born 21 May 1980) is a retired Portuguese footballer. A central midfielder, he was also a reliable set piece taker.

He amassed Primeira Liga totals of 148 games and nine goals over the course of 11 seasons, having started his career with Benfica. He also played professionally, albeit with little impact in the countries' top division, in Spain and France.

Club career[edit]

Born in the Lisbon outskirts of Cascais, Leal started his career with local S.L. Benfica and, not yet 17, made his Primeira Liga debut against S.C. Espinho, in a 2–0 home win on 20 April 1997. He made his breakthrough in the 1998–99 season, playing 27 league games and scoring three goals; in between, he served a loan stint at Benfica's feeder club F.C. Alverca, at the time also in the top level.

In the summer of 1999, Leal moved abroad to play for Spain's Atlético Madrid. In his first year the club was relegated to the second division, and in his only goal of the campaign he was also sent off, in a 13 May 2000 home draw against Sevilla FC; he stayed for the following season but could not help the Colchoneros win promotion back into La Liga, although he had established in the starting XI (36 matches, four goals).

Leal joined Paris Saint-Germain F.C. in 2001, helping the capital side to two French Cup finals in consecutive years. However, on 8 March 2002, in a match against FC Lorient for that competition, he suffered a serious injury to his left knee, being sidelined for the rest of the campaign after undergoing surgery and also missing that year's UEFA European Under-21 Championship;[1] his playing time was gradually cut, and both the player and the team agreed on an early contract termination on 4 August 2004.[2]

In the summer of 2004, Leal signed a four-year contract with FC Porto.[3] He played for six months with the team before moving to Académica de Coimbra on loan as he did not get enough playing time. At this point, he seriously consider ending his playing career.[4]

For 2005–06, Leal moved to S.C. Braga,[5] but left the club by mutual agreement in January 2007 after only managing 17 league contests in nearly two seasons. In August, he returned to Lisbon, joining C.F. Os Belenenses in a one-year deal, in another campaign severely cut short due to injuries.

In late October 2008, Leal signed a one-year contract with newly promoted C.D. Trofense. After the club's top division relegation, he returned to Spain after eight years, joining UD Salamanca (also level two) in a 1+1 deal – second year only if club attained promotion.[6]

During his only season with the Castile and León side, Leal was an undisputed starter, but not only did they not promote but almost suffered relegation. In late July 2010 the 30-year-old returned to his country, signing for Vitória de Setúbal. In his third game, at former team Benfica, he missed a penalty kick to equalize the score after the opponents had just been reduced to ten men, and Vitória eventually lost 0–3.[7]

International career[edit]

Leal received one cap for Portugal, aged 18, a 0–0 draw with the Netherlands in Paris on 19 February 1999.


Paris SG


  1. ^ "Hugo Leal falha Europeu" [Hugo Leal to miss European Championship] (in Portuguese). TSF. 19 March 2002. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Hugo Leal rescinde com Paris St-Germain" [Hugo Leal rescinds link with Paris St-Germain] (in Portuguese). TSF. 4 August 2004. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Hugo Leal picked by Porto". 8 August 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2008. 
  4. ^ "Hugo Leal: Pensava um dia regressar ao Benfica, hoje já não" [Hugo Leal: "Once i thought about returning to Benfica, not anymore"] (in Portuguese). IOnline. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Hugo Leal bound for Braga". 11 July 2005. Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  6. ^ "El Salamanca ficha a Hugo Leal, ex del Atlético de Madrid" [Salamanca signs Hugo Leal, formerly of Atlético de Madrid] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 18 July 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Ten-man Benfica bounce back – Roberto redeemed?". PortuGOAL. 28 August 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 

External links[edit]